Original Post by Paul Hamilton:
A leader can use both rapport and trust to develop the environment in which the team will succeed or fail. Rapport and trust develop a collective understanding in a group. Trust is developed when the those within the group have proven through words and actions that they are predictable towards the goals of the collective within a set of rules. (Jiang and Probst 2015)
The elements of risk and ambiguity are always present. When followers trust a leader and believe that leader has best interests in mind more can be accomplished. Followers may can push past their own self-absorption and self-preservation to accomplish the goal because they trust the choices the leader has will benefit them and the team. When leaders abuse this trust and go against the concern for the group and focus on their own ambitions this will quickly erode the trust and the leader will only get as far as the power they can seize and hold.
Politicians are often leaders that benefit from both trust and rapport to become leaders or authority figures. In order to become elected they must convince others that they align with their thoughts on topics that they care about. More importantly the population must believe the politician is predictable when it comes to making decisions on those topics that will align with their own. Leaders are often in a position to have more information for making decision that will have an impact on the population. (Jiang and Probst 2015)
Politicians can become elected and reelected when they use this information to care for the people to keep their promises. If the result is an environment for the population to succeed and flourish they may continue to attract followers. If the politician is willing to consider other views more people may begin to trust them and work within the system with others of different values to complete a goal. These politicians could be viewed as leaders. Other politicians that use the information to help only select groups can still gain and remain in power as long as they use their position of authority to passes regulations to help those select groups with influence to keep them in elected. The select groups trust that the politician will develop an environment for them to succeed. These politicians are no longer be interested in the interests of the larger constituent population but those they built a rapport with that will keep them in power. These politicians are longer seen as leaders but a corrupt authority figures. In both methods the politician has used trust and rapport with others to be placed in a role of a leader or authority figure.
Jiang, Lixin and Tahira Probst. 2015. “Do your employees (collectively) trust you? The importance of trust climate beyond individual trust.” Scandinavian Journal of Management 31, no. 4 (December): 526:535. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2015.09.003
Great point that rapport and trust develop a collective understanding in a group. If it is not present, the followers essentially do not become emotionally invested in the company vision and are in turn not productive. Also, I agree that trust makes the future more predictable which makes the followers feel more secure and safe. When the followers can predict that the leader’s actions are contributing to the collective goal, it informs their next course of action to be aligned with the collective goal. It reminds me of Sinek’s point that followers take noble action because they would know that others would do it for them and, in this case, also predict that others will do it for them. I also appreciate your approach of assigning responsibility to the followers in terms of being predictable. A quality leader can instill that sense of responsibility in his/her followers so that there is a trust in all team members and not just only a trust in the leader.
It is insightful to mention that others are going to be less self-absorbed when they taken care of and safe. A leader who chooses to establish trust is choosing to guide the content of their followers’ thoughts. Followers will devote energy towards considering efficient ways to do their tasks, techniques for staying motivated, and knowledge about the industry as opposed to taking that time to strategize how to protect their own self in a sea of scary surroundings. In turn, they will be more productive.